I'm considering starting a company with a few friends. Each of us are single guys. We're wondering, is it legal or common for a company to require other owners to sign a prenup in the event they decide to get married? What about some kind of partial prenup that says you're spouse simply can't go after your share of the company in the event of a divorce?
We've openly discussed the idea and we're all okay with it; but can't really find info on if that is legal or not. Any examples to go off of or legal statutes? We're in Illinois if that makes a difference...
What is common is to have stock that can not be transferred, known as letter stock or restricted stock. It would be perfectly legal to have stock that could not be transferred to anyone other than back to the company for a period of years (10 for example). This is in fact common as a way of keeping the shares from falling into the hands of strangers for whatever reason.
What would most likely be problematic would be a restriction saying it is OK to transfer to some people but not others such as you can sell to a man but not a woman. Such discrimination based upon factors such as race, sex etc is generally considered against public policy.
I'm guessing that'd be worthless anywhere in the EU, due to human rights legislation, as it would be restricting your right to family life.
The whole thing is ludicrous really, as it makes no sense. No court anywhere is ever going to accept that when it comes to divorce settlement, as the spouse was not party to the agreement, so is not bound by it.
How about, you guys all agree to have pre-nup's with anyone you marry, as this might actually offer you some protection, but really, I hope this is a wind-up, because if you're serious it doesn't bode well for your business if you think this is important.
Sorry to be so blunt. Of course, IANAL, IMHO, YMMV, etc.
You do not say where you are - and laws are country specific. In germany it would likely be null and void. It has to be worded different, but you can not avoid certain legal situations (like transfer of shares in event of death as part of the inheritance). You will have to talk to a lawyer for that - this totalyl depends on where you are.